It may come but once a year, but that doesn’t make Christmas any less stressful. Apart from all the cooking, cleaning, shopping, etc. there’s also all the extra “stuff” to deal with. This can be anxiety-inducing, particularly when you've been making a concerted effort to declutter. So how can you have yourself a minimalist Christmas in the midst of all the chaos?
The holiday season is officially upon us (though retailers would have you believe it started in September) and I feel very conflicted about it. On the one hand, I love Christmas and all the twinkling lights and tacky decorations. (I’m a 5-year-old at heart.) On the other, now that I’ve embraced minimalism, the thought of all that “extra” fills me with dread.
Maybe you’re in the same love-hate relationship, wanting to simplify but getting swept up in the modern current of “more”. It can feel like, in the battle of Christmas vs. minimalism, there can only be one winner.
The solution lies in how we define minimalism. After a lot of research, I’ve noticed it means slightly different things to different people but, at its core, it’s about freedom. It’s about giving yourself more room to live, move, breathe, love, create, etc.
Minimalism isn’t about emptiness, it’s about consciously creating space.
It’s easy for me to blame feelings of anxiety or overwhelm on the fact that there’s now a Christmas tree and some decorations in the house. The place is a little more cramped and I feel closed in by it.
And even though it’s on the same date at the end of every single year, and the shops are sure to let you know at least 3 months in advance, Christmas always seems to creep up on me. It’s easy to scoff in September when shelves start filling with gifts and decorations, but all it does is get me into that “there’s ages left” mentality until BAM, it’s Christmas week and I’m tearing my hair out looking for last-minute presents.
The reality is that it’s not really Christmas itself that has me concerned, it’s that I haven’t made enough space for it. I haven’t adapted and adjusted to suit the season; I’ve simply tried to squash it into my sitting room.
I still have toys on the floor, dirty dishes on the counters, papers piled up on the kitchen table… Instead of consciously choosing to make way for Saint Nick, I’ve shoehorned him into our cramped quarters. I’ve allowed myself to be so caught up in the decorating and shopping and general festive frivolities that I’ve neglected my regular routines, like cleaning.
I’ve been lulled into laziness because “it’s Christmas”.
If you’re a minimalist like me, or even if you’re just trying to keep a tight check on the clutter in your home, and you’re feeling a little uncomfortable about Christmas, ask yourself if you’ve made enough space for it in your life. Have you physically made a little extra space by maybe moving some things into the attic temporarily? Have you given yourself a little extra breathing space in your schedule to allow for shopping and parties? Have you set aside some time on a regular basis to relax and unwind in the middle of all the chaos? Have you simplified for the season?
If you love the holidays, but fear the influx of “stuff”, just start making some space. Make conscious decisions about where everything will go and how you’ll deal with it. Let people know that you won’t be sending out cards this year and, if someone insists on getting you something, say you’d prefer “experience” gifts and practical presents, or even a donation in your name. Be strict with your old routines, like cleaning, but flexible in your new ones, like cooking and baking.
For even more tips, watch my video below on how to have a less stressful Christmas:
Make some space for Christmas while still maintaining good habits, and you’ll find that you don’t have to sacrifice your minimalist ideals for a sackful of presents and a belly-load of mince pies.
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